Updated: May 9
Back in October 2021, Brooklyn-based software developer Josh Wardle designed a simple online game that his crossword-loving partner would enjoy playing during lockdown. After sending it to his family WhatsApp group, it was launched to the public in November with an initial 90 players.
Now, Wordle has become a global phenomenon. Millions of players tackle the puzzle every day, and the New York Times acquired the game from its creator in January for a price “in the low seven figures”.
If you’re unfamiliar with Wordle, the premise is simple. Each day you have to guess a five-letter word. After each guess you see five bricks indicating how close you were to guessing the correct word:
· A green brick indicates that the letter is correct and in the exact location
· A yellow brick indicates that the letter appears in the word but in a different place
· A grey or black brick indicates that the letter does not appear anywhere in the word.
You have six guesses to identify the word, and you can then share your results on social media to see how you did compared to friends.
Of course, since its launch, Wordle has spawned many imitators and similar online puzzles. So, if you’re a fan, here are some alternatives you will love.
Quordle and Octordle
The premise is the same – guess the five-letter words with green and yellow bricks as clues. However, you have to guess multiple five-letter words at the same time, so tactics most definitely come into play.
Quordle requires you to correctly identify all words in nine guesses, while Octordle gives you 13 guesses.
If your preference is maths over English, then Nerdle is for you.
Here, each sum has eight “letters” that could either be a digit or a mathematical symbol (so it must have one “equals”).
You have six goes to correctly identify the sum. A green brick indicates the correct number or symbol is in the correct space, while a purple brick indicates a correct number or symbol, just in the wrong place.
If you have an encyclopaedic knowledge of pop music, then Heardle is the game for you.
Each day, you start with a tiny snippet of a song. With each new clue, these snippets become longer each time. You only have six guesses to name the song and artist.
You also don’t have to worry that it is an obscure album track or B-side. Heardle’s website explains that it has accumulated its library based on “a list of the most streamed songs in the past decade” on Soundcloud.
Worldle is a geography-based daily quiz that requires you to identify a country or territory from its outline.
You are provided with an image of a country, and you must identify the nation in six guesses.
Each guess must be a valid country or territory. After each guess, you will see the distance, the direction, and the proximity from your guess to the target country.
The challenge can be mixed – spotting Italy from the outline is not a huge challenge! – but it is a great test of your geography, particularly concerning where countries are in relation to each other.
Taylordle, Swordle, Mickeyrdle and more
The popularity of Wordle has led to dozens of imitations across the web. So, depending on your preferences and niche pop culture knowledge, there’s almost certainly a version for you.
Each of these works in the same way as Wordle – identify a short word within six guesses – but each version limits its word choices to terms relating to the game.
Swordle is the game for Star Wars fans. Identify the five-letter Star Wars related word – but this is complicated by the inclusion of numbers and hyphens, meaning droids can be difficult to find!
Taylordle is for fans of Taylor Swift. Your daily challenge is to find a word related to the American pop star.
Mickeyrdle is the Disney version – perhaps ideal for kids as they search for a Disney-related word.
One of the joys of Wordle is that you can play it alone, at your leisure. If you want the polar opposite of that, Squabble introduces a competitive element.
Here, you now not only guess the right word with the help of coloured boxes, but you do it competing against up to 100 more players attempting to do the same.
The goal is to keep your health bar as high as possible to beat your competition. Taking longer on chances decreases your health, while correct guesses increase it.
Somewhere between Wordle and a sudoku, Crosswordle is a fun and intriguing spin on the genre.
Here, you are given the correct Wordle solution, and you must fill in the previous rows of tiles with “wrong” answers. You are essentially trying to recreate a Wordle grid given the final word and the colour of the tiles.
You’re up against the clock on this one, and it’s a great little brainteaser while you’re having a morning cuppa.